Robert Pattinson to Star in Cronenberg’s ‘Cosmopolis’
David Cronenberg has tapped the “Twilight” star to play Eric Packer in the adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel.
Don DeLillo’s “Cosmopolis” is a vintage, icy satire. It might share the NYC setting and financial playground staked out by Oliver Stone in “Wall Street,” but whereas Charlie Sheen stands at his balcony and asks, “Who am I,” Eric Packer looks at his skyscraper penthouse from the street below and remembers, “I want a haircut.”
And so begins Packer’s Ulyssian odyssey through Manhattan as a 28 year old billionaire hedge fund manager, who’s made his money in tech stocks, and has an almost abstract-nihilistic approach to life and business.
Packer is, for all intents and purposes, an example of the Cartesian cogito ergo sum made flesh. The reader of “Cosmopolis” gets the impression that Packer might have sincerely tried to infuse meaning into existence, and simply discarded the notion when intellectual or financial excellence revealed no greater truths.
In fact, in the early chapters, there is no greater meaning to be derived from Packer’s existence or existence, in general. He reads poetry to hear his breathing and marries a poet and heir to a European banking dynasty, even though he thinks she’s a shit poet and he doesn’t need the money.
He is situated somewhere between Bud Fox, who was born with ethics and morals, and Patrick Bateman, who was seemingly born empty like Ted Bundy. Whereas Fox and Bateman exist on different polarities of ethics and morality, Packer bursts onto the page in the opening chapters and seems unconcerned with either philosophy. In fact, he seems to have more in common with, say, Bernie Madoff–who hasn’t expressed any ideology one way or another about his actions.
Everything in existence, whether biological or digital (like illuminated stock numbers), is merely a projection of a life without meaning for Packer. But it becomes apparent, as the novel progresses, that Packer is not simply some simple projection of post-modern nihilism.
With that in mind, is it possible for Robert Pattinson to pull of a character that can so easily descend into caricature?
My guess is that he could possibly pull off Packer’s icy, intellectual arrogance, as well as the threads of emotion running underneath the character’s veneer. Perhaps Pattinson was who Cronenberg needed to greenlight “Cosmopolis,” although I have a hard time believing Cronenberg would crumble to studio pressure on casting.
Whatever the case, the field of actors at the appropriate age is limited. Who wants to see James Franco in another project, and Ryan Gosling is too obvious a choice for this role. The fact that Juliette Binoche and Mathieu Amalric have been cast will surely help raise Pattinson’s game.
If anyone can make Pattinson into Packer, it will be Cronenberg.